Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Suzanne Jones

Second Advisor

Dr. Welford D. Taylor

Third Advisor

Dr. Elisabeth Gruner


The intersection of Roman Catholic ideology and female sexuality remains at the heart of Katherine Anne Porter's short stories, "Virgin Violeta" (1924), "Flowering Judas" (1930), and "Old Mortality" (1937). In these works, Porter implicitly suggests that the Catholic ideology of the early twentieth century has been reduced to a matter of sexuality, particularly female sexual purity. Through her portraits of the young virgin Violeta in "Virgin Violeta" and the frigid adult Laura in "Flowering Judas," Porter challenges the Roman Catholic emphasis on female chastity. In tracing the development of Miranda in "Old Mortality," Porter subverts Roman Catholic ideology by presenting a character who abandons her religion and the sacrament of marriage, denouncing the Church morality and teachings that shaped her perceptions. Despite their differences in showing how women come to terms with their sexuality and incorporate their religious values into everyday life, all three stories conclude with sexually confused and socially isolated female characters.